Motorcycle racing deserves its place: MotoGP 21 Game Review

The racing sim market boasts a huge fan base, but most of them prefer more arcade franchises to sit back and relax even with a keyboard. But there are separate series on the market that target a small audience and, in fact, release new parts exclusively for the same fan base. Naturally, franchises like NFS or Forza do not bring insane profits, improving rather slowly and hardly attracting new gamers. We will talk about this series of races today because the authors of MotoGP presented a new part of the only major motorcycle race.

Learning that doesn’t exist.

When I saw the training item in the main menu, I was delighted since such modes allow the gamer to understand better the game mechanics, the intricacies of control, and other little things. But in reality, it turned out that the developers thought out the training system very badly – it seems to be there, but for a beginner who really needs it, there is nothing in the game. Basic Learning Points tell us to drive on the correct trajectory, slow down before entering a turn, and pick it up when entering a flat section of the track. However, who did not know that?

And then the developers tell you that if you cut, then you get a penalty, and sometimes, in the case of these penalties, you need to drive into the far section of the track to block this violation like a penalty loop, just the whole segment on the ring. Everything, further training consists of the fact that you need to drive in a circle in the allotted time or overtake your opponent on the track, taking the first place. The question is – what is the training if the first point is known to absolutely any gamer who has played a racing simulator at least once, and the second is a banal innovation of the current part of the franchise?

Trust the team

Career mode for many fans of this simulator is the most important component of the project, and the developers have tried to make it even more interesting. Although, of course, they did not radically change anything. You can choose a race class (Moto3, Moto2, or MotoGP), then sign a manager for yourself, choose a team or create your own, and then go into the world of racing to achieve goals, modify a vehicle and find more profitable contracts. And I, frankly, do not quite understand the function of building my own team, given that the official ones are much more attractive, and it is much more pleasant to drive for a Honda than for an unknown brand.

At the same time, the “Career” itself is built on the same mechanics as the previous parts of the franchise – you have a team of mechanics, the class and skills of which depend on the capabilities of your motorcycle. The manager is responsible for the salary, all kinds of bonuses, and the signing of contracts. The player needs to ride, earn points to break out from the very bottom of the tournament table, and this, frankly, is the whole point of this model. There is no plot, as in the same FIFA, there is no location, communication with the press, or work on social networks.

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I will not say that this mode is bad, no, but the developers did not show anything radically new. You are still looking for a better offer, upgrading your racing car, driving along the tracks, accumulating points, and moving up the table. Yes, if you become a successful racer, you can create your own junior team, become its manager, and that seems to be even good, but who comes to a racing simulator to play a manager simulator? Still, we can conclude that “Career” is stagnating – compared to other sports simulators, it looks poorer and faded.

But physics is five-plus

What I liked about the game was the feel of the track and the handling of the motorcycles – the developers clearly succeeded in this, although, of course, you should not expect a dramatic shift in terms of physics compared to the previous parts. Our virtual athlete still easily and naturally tilts the motorcycle to enter the turn, after which he levels out and, squeezing the gas, quickly exits the turn, picking up speed on flat sections of the track. However, these mechanics seemed not entirely clear to me since I was used to racing on four wheels, but you quickly get used to physics.

Motorcycle racing deserves its place.  MotoGP 21 Review

Special praise deserves the vehicle’s behavior in situations where the control is beyond your control. For example, if you enter a turn and go off the track onto a conventional shoulder, the motorcycle begins to vibrate and bounce. Moreover, if you go too far, driving off the track at a large slope, our driver may well fall, showing you the first-person screen with a racing car piled on its side. And if the situation is not so critical, then the athlete will even run after the motorcycle to pick it up and catch up with opponents.

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That is, the surface on which you are driving feels great in gameplay terms – even driving on a small ledge or gravel outside the lane feels extremely bright. And if you accelerate the motorcycle strongly, then it also begins to vibrate under the rider, as if you are driving not on ideal asphalt but a dirt road. All this brings tangible pleasure to fans who love realism and can appreciate it. If you come from arcade racing, where you can crash into buildings and drive on, then all these delights can only bring discomfort. But loyal fans of the franchise will only be happy about the physics of the motorcycle modified in detail.

AI that drives near perfect

While I was driving on the tracks and trying to take first place in the race, I noticed how good and confident artificial intelligence is – in other games, where entering a turn is not so subtle and scrupulous is not noticed so clearly. Here, in some moments, the AI, being in front of me, enters the turns synchronously, accurately, and clearly, without any chance of error. At the same time, the understanding very quickly comes that it is possible to overtake the opponent only at these turns, since on even sections if the enemy is ahead, it is unrealistic to overtake him.

Motorcycle racing deserves its place.  MotoGP 21 Review

And it is thanks to such a filigree driving of artificial intelligence. You begin to understand how to win here and the difference between motorcycle racing and car racing. Here, to overtake the enemy, you need to go through the turn just filigree to not drive into the bordering strip, not to go too far onto the track, while correctly throwing off the gas and picking up speed exactly when exiting the turn. But, best of all, with such a good AI, opponents can still collide and fall off motorcycles – I personally was able to implement this only once during the entire game. Still, this new mechanic also gives the game a certain realism.

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I cannot say that I am a big fan of this type of simulators, but I enjoyed riding motorcycles in the new part of MotoGP, and this is perhaps the main criterion for choosing a video game. Riding is pleasant, comfortable. When you understand how to drive a motorcycle, then you also start to win (although not always). At the same time, the race did not undergo any fundamental changes – the developers slightly modified the graphics to make the picture more beautiful, slightly modified the physics, slightly redesigned the career, and added new content. The entry threshold has remained low, but the game is still not so friendly and arcade that the franchise is no longer a niche. However, for fans, this is more a plus than a minus.

Motorcycle racing deserves its place.  MotoGP 21 Review

✅ Benefits:

  • realistic graphics and physics;
  • a large fleet of racing motorcycles;
  • you can play both alone and in multiplayer;
  • tracks from the real world;
  • great update for fans of the franchise.

❌ Disadvantages:

  • not the best training;
  • career mode lagged behind the market;
  • playing the keyboard is still inconvenient;
  • relatively high entry threshold.

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